WASHINGTON -- The White House on Wednesday defended President Joe Biden’s 100-day goal of reopening more than 50% schools for in-person learning at least one day a week.
What You Need To Know
- The White House on Wednesday defended President Joe Biden’s 100-day goal of reopening more than 50% schools for in-person learning at least one day a week
- At a press briefing, one reporter suggested the goal wasn’t particularly ambitious while another accused Biden of burying the details in the “small print” while campaigning
- White House press secretary Jen Psaki said the Biden administration hopes to reach and then "build from that" goal
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to release updated guidance this week on how to safely send children back into classrooms
White House press secretary Jen Psaki first clarified the goal during her Tuesday briefing. On Wednesday, one reporter suggested it wasn’t particularly ambitious, noting that many schools already are at that stage. Another reporter accused Biden of burying the details in the “small print” while campaigning.
“Certainly we are not planning to celebrate at a hundred days if we reach that goal,” Psaki said. “That is our own effort to set a bold and ambitious agenda for how we’re going to measure ourselves and progress. But we certainly hope to build from that.”
She insisted the administration did not hide Biden’s true goal.
“Again, the president set a goal of reopening the majority of schools within a hundred days, and when you asked what that meant, I answered that question,” she said. “That is not the ceiling. That is the bar we’re trying to leap over and succeed.”
Psaki added that the president is “certainly hopeful that more kids will be back in school five days a week as quickly as that can safely happen.”
The White House’s defense was reminiscent to questions it faced last month about Biden’s goal of administering 100 million vaccination doses in 100 days. When he took office, the U.S. had already begun to hit 1 million shots a day.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expected to release updated guidance this week on how to safely send children back into classrooms.
One hurdle some schools have been facing is teachers who have refused to return to in-person classes before being vaccinated, which has happened in cities such as Chicago and Montclair, New Jersey.
Psaki said the administration is engaged with a number of teacher groups to hear their concerns but claimed: “Most teachers will tell you they want to be in the classroom. They want to be there with their students, especially younger kids, and do that in-person learning.”
She also said it’s critical for Congress to pass Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to give schools the funding they need to reopen safely and quickly and to help speed up vaccinations.